Let us help you start your own business in the rewarding career of becoming a child care professional. 

Many people enter the child care profession because they want a career where they can be with their own children while earning an income and even becoming their own boss. There are many types of child care and we can help you determine what type of child care business is best for you.   

The business of child care is enriching and rewarding and child care providers remain in the field even after their children are grown. IACCRR and our 9 local child care resource and referral agencies can provide you with the help that you need to successfully achieve your business goals.

What types of child care programs can you start?

  • Licensed child care home—means a residential structure in which at least six (6) children (not including the children for whom the provider is a parent, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or other relative or any child who is at least fourteen [14] years of age and does not require child care) at any time receive child care from a provider.
  • Licensed child care center—means a nonresidential building where at least one (1) child receives child care from a provider.
  • Provider Eligibility Standard Certified Home (PES)—means a regulated residential structure certified to accept Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) vouchers.
  • Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministry—means child care operated by a church or religious ministry that is a religious organization exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Legally Licensed Exempt Home—means a non-regulated residential structure where 5 or fewer unrelated children are cared for.

For more information visit

How many children can I care for?
It depends on the type of child care program:
  • Licensed Class I Child Care Home—generally up to 12
  • Licensed Class II Child Care Home—generally up to 16 (you will need to hold a regular license for one year prior)
  • Licensed Child Care Center—numbers vary based upon available space (35 square feet per child)
  • Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministry—varies based on primary use of building
  • Legally Licensed Exempt Home Provider—up to 5 unrelated children

When do I need to get a license to care for children?

In a residential setting, prior to accepting the 6th unrelated child into care (a license is an option with 5 or fewer children). In a nonresidential setting, prior to accepting the 1st child into care


What are the benefits to becoming a licensed center or home, a certified (PES) home or registered ministry?

  • Free referrals to help fill your child care openings
  • Professional development training/workshops
  • Lending library to access resources to enhance your program
  • Eligibility for the Federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)—a monetary reimbursement for the nutritious snacks and meals you serve
  • Recognition as a professional business owner, which allows you to claim additional business-related tax deductions
  • The assurance for parents that the child care they have chosen has met the state health and safety regulations
  • Eligibility for Paths to QUALITY™ – Indiana’s Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System for licensed programsor unlicensed registered ministries meeting additional voluntary standards.

What is the first step to become a licensed child care provider?

Indiana legislation and regulation mandates that a person seeking a state license to operate a child care be required to attend Orientation Training. This two hour child care start-up workshop provides an overview for participants who are interested in starting the business of child care in a home, center, or ministry setting, and is the first part of a two-part series. It covers regulatory requirements, resources, and some information on health, safety and business practices. It serves to help participants with the decision-making process for choosing which type of care they would like to provide.  For an overview of what this training covers click HERE

Contact your local child care resource and referral (CCR&R)  to sign up for a face to face orientation training, or you can access the online training in Training Central 

The ABC’s of Child Care Manual is a great resource. The goal of this manual is to turn the complexities of licensing, regulations and business start-up into easy-to-use information to help you become a successful child care entrepreneur. This manual is used at Orientation Training I.

After completing Orientation I, Overview for participants who are interested in starting the business of child care, what do I do next?

You will need to attend the 2nd training in the two- part orientation series.

Orientation II is designed to outline regulatory requirements, licensing steps, and provides all the encessary paperwork and contact information to complete your goal of starting a child care program.  You will leave this training prepared to take the next steps.  

For homes, it is offered through your local CCR&R. For an overview of what this training covers click HERE. To download a copy of the Orientation II Manual click HERE.   Sample forms (such as discipline policy, medication administration and attendance, etc.) are available for download.  Sample child care home contract and policies are also available.

In addition to Orientation I and II licensed homes will need to take the following training:
  • Complete the two-part orientation training:  1  (offered through this website and face to face training through your local CCR&R) & 2 (offered monthly face to face through your local CCR&R )
  • Complete Safe Sleeping Practices and Reducing the Risk of SIDS training (offered monthly face to face through your local CCR&R )
  • Complete Child Abuse Prevention and Detection Training (offered through this website and face to face training through your local CCR&R)
  • Complete Universal Precautions/Prevention of Disease Transmission training (offered through this website and through American Red Cross) 
  • Complete First Aid & Pediatric CPR training (offered at a variety of places including the American Red Cross.) Your local child care resource and referral will be able to assist you in finding a location.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions can be seen HERE

For ministries and centers, it is offered through the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) in Indianapolis only once per month. You can find information regarding Orientation II training sessions on the FSSA website


Recorded Webinar - What Do You Charge? Rate Considerations, Sliding Fee Schedules, Scholarships, and Discounts   Presented by Tom Copeland, JD on 5/7/2014     Click here to play


Tom Copeland - Treating Family Child Care as a Business

This 6-part video series presented by Tom Copeland, JD will provide information on why it's important to treat family child care as a business and learn about the key aspects of planning. Topics include, legal issues, start-up costs, start-up tax issues, key aspects of a business plan, contracts, marketing, insurance, professional development and record keeping. Tom Copeland is a renowned tax and family child care business specialist. He is a licensed attorney and trains thousands of family child care providers each year.

  • Getting Started - Part 1   In this video, Tom Copeland lays the foundation for getting started with your child care business. He gives you information on how to become more successful as a family child care business owner.  This video is a great way to help you make sure that you are considering all of the aspects of running a successful child care home business.    30 minutes

  • Getting Started – Part 2   This video is a continuation of the first Getting Started - Part 1 video above. In it you will receive information about hiring employees, documenting your tax-related items, and much more. Tom also covers legal issues related to starting your business such as zoning, creating a business name, and getting the proper insurance coverage to protect your business and your home.    27 minutes
  • The Importance of Having a Business Plan - Part 1    Why have a business plan? This video will answer that question and much more. Learn about the importance of having a well-rounded business plan. You will think about the aspects of your business plan such as marketing, setting goals, and brainstorming the benefits that you have to offer within your business. You will also receive important information about how to reduce risks within your business with proactive planning, having nondiscriminatory practices, and obtaining proper insurance coverage.   30 minutes
  •  The Importance of Having a Business Plan - Part 2     This video is a continuation of The Importance of Having a Business Plan - Part 1 above. This video gives more in-depth information about having the proper insurance for your business. Tom discusses the different types of coverage that is needed and how to protect yourself from lawsuits and other legal issues that might arise when you have an in-home business.                      15 minutes
  • Written Contracts - Part 1    It is important to set the foundation for the practice of your business early. This video will give you information about written contracts and the importance of using them in your business. It will show you how to set up clear policies and procedures about practices within your business such as program activities, field trips, behavior guidance, and other things that are a part of your day-to-day practice. Tom also talks about how to ensure that you are doing your taxes properly and establishing a good record-keeping plan.    15 minutes
  • Written Contracts - Part 2   This video is the second part of the Written Contracts video. Tom goes more into depth about business taxes and gives tax tips for business owners. He also discusses the importance of having a budget, including the breakdown of your current budget and how to create a cash-flow projection -- the income coming in and the expenses going out.  11 minutes